The stars that had been shining in the Indian cricket team for long will not be seen on the field any more. One is the greatest Indian captain ever and a classic stroke player on the off side- Sourav Ganguly, while the other is a Mechanical Engineer with a Doctorate in leg spin – the Jumbo, Anil Kumble. Ganguly’s decision to retire before the Australian series was indeed surprising, but Kumble’s announcement after the third test, in the middle of the series at Feroz Shah Kotla was as surprising as a Googly.
Any player above the age of 30-32 has now become a burden for the team. Unfortunately (or fortunately), we still have senior players like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman seems clinging in the team. And it’s sure that the young players have the talent and caliber in them, but still let us wait and see how many of these players will excel and be a consistent part of the team as our seniors did.
The senior players fell out of favour with the BCCI's recent policy of recruiting young talents. But still the departure of Sourav and Kumble will definitely leave a void that will not be filled soon. Above all, Sourav supported and encouraged young players like Yuvraj, Sehwag, Harbhajan, Zaheer and Dhoni, during his tenure as captain. The senior players registered their names in history through classic strokeplay as well as big hits. Partnerships were built with the help of singles. No one wants to see those singles any more. All like only those batsmen who can hit the maximum number of sixes and boundaries.
As a result, no one wishes to sit back and watch the whole 50-over match, where a batsman and bowler prove their class in the slog overs. The format of the cricket has drastically changed over the years and has given birth to the shortest version- Twenty20. It clicked and turned out to be a lucrative business through the Indian Premier League (even women and housewives were glued to it). As a strategy to attract more people, boundary lines were shortened to 60 meters from 80 and the bowlers’ role was reduced to just bowling. Any player who could make the ball travel 60 meters could hit a boundary. Is this the real class of a batsman?
As the curtains come down on Sourav's illustrious 13-year and Kumble’s 18-year long careers, we should not forget those 20,000 runs Sourav made and more than 1,000 wickets the nation celebrated through the latter. The records owned by Sachin, Kumble’s 10 wicket haul against Pakistan, Ganguly’s all-time match-winning performances, the ‘wall’ created by Dravid in times of emergency and the classic strokes by Laxman... we are forgetting these facts? The new generation may shout at these oldies: “Hit sixes or just sit back in the pavillion and watch the match!”